February 3, 2020

Columbia/Okura automation capabilities coming to ATX West

Attendees of ATX West — the largest automation technology trade show in the Western U.S. — will experience how collaborative robots from Columbia/Okura can automate some of the most sought-after tasks in a manufacturing industry facing severe labor shortages.

With the U.S. unemployment rate remaining at 3.5%, the lowest in 50 years, companies are increasingly looking at automation to solve production challenges due to 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day and few millennials interested in joining the manufacturing industry. At ATX West in Anaheim, California, Feb. 11-13, Universal Robots (UR), will show attendees how cobots can power ergonomically unfavorable, repetitive and even technically complex tasks that manufacturers can’t staff.

Cost-efficient palletizing

UR’s ATX booth 4815 is the launch pad for OEM partner Columbia/Okura’s new miniPAL, a mobile palletizer product powered by the UR10e cobot arm. The flexible miniPAL, with an 11-by-13-foot footprint, can palletize at two pallet locations for optimized operation. The latest design showcased at ATX includes two safety mats and two area scanners that detect when people enter the work envelope, allowing the system to meet even higher speeds when not in collaborative mode. The system plugs into 110V AC wall power, can be set up in less than a day, and delivers an average payback between eight and 10 months, depending on application and industry.  

“The partnership between Columbia/Okura and UR allows the two companies to provide a safe and economical palletizing solution to clients who are facing labor shortages, many of whom may also be new to factory automation,” said Brian Hutton, president of Columbia/Okura. “With the introduction of a collaborative palletizer, employees can be reassigned to work on higher value, less strenuous tasks where their time and skills are better served.”

Columbia/Okura LLC designs, integrates, and commissions end of line robotic palletizing solutions for most major industries. For over 20 years, Columbia/Okura has been a leading provider of robotic palletizing systems by delivering custom engineered solutions meeting demanding customer requirements.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, Columbia/Okura is a joint venture of material handling leaders Columbia Machine and Okura Yusoki Ltd. For more information, visit www.columbiaokura.com.